Coaching with Anne-Marie… Session 2

It’s my lucky month, right?  Well it must be.  I was cheeky and requested another Skype session with the lovely Anne-Marie.

Side note – I actually got to chat with her, and yes she does have an Irish accent!  ;0)

Anyway, this one was just as good as the first (if not a touch better).  We undertook a paired exploratory testing (ET) session.  At least that was the conclusion I came up with after an hour and a half of coaching, learning, testing, playing, collaborating…….  yeah, that does sound like a paired ET session!  Nice.  Probably my first one.  I’m very much used to white water rafting, then falling over the waterfall to certain death!

You may have noted that I metnioned ‘playing’… and that’s because we did.  The session was based around a game; a game called…………..  Nope, can’t tell you!  Hoping to get Anne-Marie’s heart pumping while reading this.  ;0)  It’s a secret.  I was the guinea pig for this particular session structure so I’ve been sworn to secrecy.  What I can tell you is that is was very enjoyable, and damn challenging!  May not be for some of you, but this is all about me after all.

There were some key elements that came out if for me:

  • Assumptions – This was a highlight from our first session, and it seems I didn’t learn.  ;0)  I was caught out again making many assumptions, which isn’t the real problem… the real problem is that I wasn’t recognising them as assumptions as I was making them.  I was certain they were right!  Check this post out by Iain McCowatt for a little more on this.  The game did lend itself to making these assumptions, but in future I would slow down and apply more critical thinking as I’m playing.  At the very least I would then know that I’m making an assumption, and that I need to test that assumption in order to find certainty (if that was possible).
  • Observations versus Inferences – At one stage Anne-Marie asked me for my observation.  So what did I do?  Gave an inference (inferred answer as a result of my observation).  In some aspects it could be likened to ‘jumping to conclusions’.  A dangerous thing to do in any situation, let alone testing.  I do like this definition – “The process of arriving at some conclusion that, though it is not logically derivable from the assumed premises, possesses some degree of probability relative to the premises.”
    Once again, I needed to slow down and focus on the question I was being asked.  While many inferences from observations may actually be correct, they also may not be.  Focus on the observation first.  Then focus on what that observation is telling you.
  • Oracles – I had my first ‘real’ lesson in oracles towards the end of the session.  Anne-Marie helped me to define what the oracles were in our session and in the game.  She then left me with a challenge…  “I want to see a blog on oracles”  So more on that later.  ;0)  May be more than a blog.

I think Anne-Marie is on to a winner with this particular session structure.  It highlighted to me the value in coaching.  If was given the game to play (or a challenge to play it) then I would have maybe worked it out in the end, but I wouldn’t have had even half of the learnings from it.  It also would have taken me twice as long!

So a huge thank you once again to Anne-Marie, and another big plug for her coaching sessions.  They truly are valuable (and no, I’m not getting paid).  ;0)

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